April 15, 2008
Congratulations to Canadale Nurseries of St. Thomas, winner of the North American-wide 2007 Perennials Mar­ket­ing Contest, sponsored by Plant Publicity Holland and the Perennial Plant Association.

At Canadale, the design and inspiration gardens take centre stage. “The concept came from a South African horticultural tour that Tom took a few years ago. Their garden centres were a wonderful source of inspiration and we’ve put some of the finer concepts, like the layout of their display gardens, to good use,” Pauline explained. There are at least 12 different styles of demonstration gardens, but according to Pauline, the “absolute star” is the perennial garden.

Perennials are used in almost all the demonstration gardens, not only the perennial garden that won the contest. “We’re also trying to teach our customers that perennials are wonderful container plants. The concept seems to be catching on, as well it should. Who wouldn’t love an attractive container by their front door filled with blue hosta, purple leafed heuchera some tall miscanthus and variegated ivy spilling over the sides,” exclaimed Pauline.

The demonstration gardens are not large. Typically each is in the 26- by 20-foot range. But that’s enough space to give customers great ideas for their own gardens. Some of the plants are actually planted in the ground, but most are just sunk into the earth, pot and all, and then top-dressed with mulch. “This allows us to easily replace plants on a regular basis to ensure that everything is in its full-bloom glory. Customers need to see plant material at its best, it’s what makes the sale,” said Pauline.

“One of our strengths is our extremely dedicated, devoted and talented staff. Without them, neither the nursery nor the garden centre would be possible,” said Pauline, Canadale’s garden center manager.

When asked who will be taking the Perennials Marketing Contest prize-winning trip for two to Holland, Pauline sighed, saying, “We’re still drawing straws for that wonderful gift.”

Full contest details and entry forms for the 2008 Perennials Marketing Contest will be available in mid-April at www.perennialandnurserynews.com.

Caption: Canadale’s efforts to help customers envision plants in residential settings impressed the marketing contest judges.